Press Release Statement
South Sudan Nuer International Advocacy for Human Rights (SSNIAHR)
July, 25, 2011
July 26, 2011 (SSNA) — The South Sudan Nuer International Advocacy for Human Rights (SSNIAHR) calls upon the United Mission in Sudan (UNMISS) to observe its mandate to protect the civil population from the SPLA. Since South Sudan became an independent country on July, 9, 2011, the UNMIS should step up protection of civil population and monitoring of human rights violations.
Prior to the declaration of independence of South Sudan, the (UNMISS) miserably failed to fulfill its mission to monitor human rights violations in the entire South Sudan. The government of South Sudan’s security forces committed various human rights violations despite the presence of (UNMISS) in most major towns of the South. Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the government of Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir has been engaged in extrajudicial and other unlawful killings; torture; beatings, raping and other cruel, inhuman treatments or punishments.
In 2010, the SPLA army committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Shilluk Kingdom where Shilluk men and women were targeted as a result of Robert Gwang’s rebellion. Women were raped and men severely tortured. Until then, the SPLA forces who committed those heinous war crimes and crimes against humanity have not been brought to justice.
Before the incidents which took place in Kaldak and Mayom, civil populations were targeted in Fangak County where over three hundred civilians were killed and buried in mass graves. In April and May 2011, Nuer civilians were also targeted in Kaldak village and Mayom County respectively. Civilians in these areas were killed and tortured because they hailed from Nuer ethnic group. The SPLA soldiers who killed and tortured them were from Dinka ethnic group. The UN Report about Kaldak incident of April 23rd confirmed the motive behind the targeting of Nuer civil population as tribally motivated killings. The same tribally motivated killings took place in Mayom County where the SPLA army burned down over 8,000 homesteads to punish the Bul Nuer clan chiefly because the rebel leader fighting Juba government hailed from that clan.
In Unity State, the SPLA army committed arbitrary and unlawful killings in towns by targeting those who criticized the governor of the state. The state government does not have any respect for the integrity of the persons, including freedom from arbitrary or unlawful arrests. Although the Interim Constitution of South Sudan prohibits such practices; however, the Unity State’s security forces continued to torture, beat and harass suspected political opponents and others. The worst part of unlawful killings is the recent assassination of Col. Gatluak Gai one week after signing peace accord with the SPLA and the State Government. Credible sources within the government of South Sudan revealed that the SPLA Military Intelligence, in conjunction with Gov. Taban Deng Gai, bribed Col. Gatluak Gai’s deputy to carryout assassination mission. The revelation was confirmed on July, 24, 2011, when the killer of Col. Gatluak Gai was interviewed by the state radio in which he explained and justified the killings of his boss.
Arbitrary arrests and detentions also take place regularly in Greater Equatoria region where SPLA high-ranking officers grabbed lands of indigenous communities of the region through the use of force. In towns like Yei and Nimule, the government security agents continued to arbitrarily arrest and detain persons who attempt to claim their lands. Despite the fact that the SPLA army is not legally invested with arrest powers as per South Sudan constitution, people who attempted to claim back their lands in Juba, Yei and Nimule have been subjected to arbitrary arrests and detentions. For example, in Eastern Equatoria State, the SPLA and security agents have been implicated in the killings of civilians and journalists who questioned the unconstitutional practices of the security organs.
Physical abuses, punishment and torture are also common occurrences in Juba town. On July, 7, 2011, the SPLM-DC leader of opposition in South Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) and Deputy Chairman of SPLM-DC were severely beaten by the SPLA Military Intelligence unit called Special Branch. The police officers who were guarding the South Sudan Legislative Assembly’s opposition leader were not also spared from physical torture. The motive was to punish the leadership of the SPLM-DC for voting against the draft transitional constitution earlier on July, 6, 2011. Although the Interim Constitution of South Sudan gives the leader of the opposition and members of parliament immunity, the SPLA Special Branch paid no regard to constitutional principles which allow freedom of speech, expression, assembly and conscience.
The South Sudan Nuer International Advocacy for Human Rights (SSNIAHR) would like to remind the UNMISS that human rights abuses are culture of SPLM/A Movement. The current leaders of the government of South Sudan committed war crimes and crimes against humanity against South Sudan civil population during the years of the liberation struggle. The same inhuman treatments and punishments were echoed in May this year against the Bul Nuer civil population in violation of international laws which prohibit war crimes and crimes against humanity.
We would like to conclude that the following human rights abuses are occurring daily in South Sudan: abridgement of citizens’ right to change their government; extrajudicial and other unlawful killings by SPLA forces and security agents throughout the South; torture, beatings, rape, and other cruel, inhumane treatment or punishment by security forces; harsh prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention, incommunicado detention of suspected SPLM opponents, and prolonged pretrial detention; executive interference with the judiciary and denial of due process; obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian assistance; restrictions on privacy; restrictions on freedom of speech; restrictions on the press; restrictions on freedoms of assembly, association, religion, and movement; harassment of internally displaced persons; violence and discrimination against women; child abuse, including sexual violence and recruitment of child soldiers; prevention of international human rights observers from traveling to and within areas where human rights are abused; discrimination and violence against ethnic minorities; denial of workers’ rights; and forced and child labor.